home
RSS
Health care costs to surpass total income?
March 14th, 2012
03:13 PM ET

Health care costs to surpass total income?

Take a close look at the chart up above. It’s taken from a new paper, in the Annals of Family Medicine. If you believe the doctors who put it together, it tells one of the scariest stories you’ll ever hear.

The gentle upward slope represents the median income for an American family, projected through 2035. The lighter colored curve is projected average spending on health care - insurance premiums, and out of pocket costs.

With current trends, the authors say, in less than 20 years the average family will face medical costs that are higher than their total income. All of it.

Dr. Jennifer DeVoe, one of the authors, says she already sees the strain in her practice at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

“I see people who don’t eat, or don’t pay rent, so they can pay medical bills,” she says. “They can’t afford their medication, or in some cases, even a mammogram.”

The basic facts aren’t new. Health care costs have been growing faster than inflation since the government began to track them in the 1960s. Between 2000 and 2009, the paper says, the average annual increase in insurance premiums was 8%, while household income rose an average of 2.1%.

But some experts say the doom and gloom is overblown. J.D. Kleinke, who last month wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “The Myth of Runaway Spending,” points out that growth in health spending has been moving closer to the overall inflation rate, for the past decade.  He says the slowdown came because insurers and private companies introduced plans with higher deductibles and bigger co-pays at the same time the government introduced health savings accounts, where individuals can get a tax break to help pay for medical expenses.

“In the old days, people never questioned cost because they were basically given a blank check,” says Kleinke. “Industry figured it out and said, 'This is madness.' ”

DeVoe acknowledges the trend, but says what strikes her first, “is that these costs are still increasing.”

Whether you see health spending as a crisis, depends, in part, on your focus.

In 2009 and 2010, total spending on health care grew at a slower rate – 3.8% and 3.9%, respectively – than at any time on record. But even that outstripped inflation –  1.6% in 2010, and a negative 0.3% the year before.

At the same time, a larger share of the cost is being borne by individual families. According to a survey last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums for family health insurance plans rose 9%.

To Kleinke, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, shifting the burden is good and necessary.

“Because people feel the economic pain directly, they’ve actually changed behavior, and spending did start to come down.”

A wild card in all this is the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” Critics say expanding health insurance to cover another 30 million people will send costs through the roof. But ACA supporters point to provisions meant to slow or reverse the growth in spending - especially an emphasis on preventive care, which is supposed to reduce the need for expensive hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

DeVoe says the ACA is a “great first step, but it’s not enough to get us where we need to go in terms of sustainability.”

Co-author Dr. Richard Young, who runs the country’s largest family practice training program, at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, points out that the new federal “comparative effectiveness” program - meant to compare the benefits of different treatments - is explicitly forbidden from considering cost, just as Medicare is forbidden from denying any “medically necessary” treatment, no matter how high the cost, or how small the medical benefit.

Young put it bluntly in an interview: “Until we’re willing to say 'no' to somebody, anybody, there is nothing to stop this inflationary pressure.”

Asked if the analysis isn’t deeply pessimistic, he said: “That’s right.”


soundoff (838 Responses)
  1. Rv Restoration Shop

    After looking at a number of the blog posts on your website, I truly appreciate your technique of blogging. I added it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and let me know how you feel.

    http://neacenet.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=commercialvanrepairshop.com

    June 22, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    http://emirateshop.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.pro

    June 22, 2021 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. adhd training online

    http://www.photonvision.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=realchrisburns.com

    June 22, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Ac Repair Near Me

    http://checkclear.co.uk/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.tv

    June 22, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Winnebago Van Repair Shop

    https://galter.northwestern.edu/exit?url=http://www.ocrvfleetservices.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. u23vn vs u23 myanmar

    Liên Kết Coi Thẳng đá Bóng Futsal Việt Nam Vs Lebanon Vòng Chủng Loại World Cupbd24hNếu cứ nghịch như cách vừa đè bẹp Everton tới 3-1 bên trên Sảnh quý khách hàng

    https://murraystivoli.com/detail/tennis-truc-tiep-43735.html

    June 22, 2021 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Near Here

    http://www.kappavision.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.us

    June 22, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Best RV Repair Shop Near Me

    https://www.cbn.com/superbook/pages/superbook_external_link.aspx?p=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ymh podcast

    http://dest-golf.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 22, 2021 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 1619 project podcast

    http://footankleusa.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 22, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Electrical Repair Near Me

    http://directory.the570.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.biz

    June 22, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Content Marketing Firms

    http://dmc.tv/new/out.php?go=https://consciousgrowthmarketing.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Content Marketing Business

    http://fashion4faeries.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=consciousgrowthmarketing.com/

    June 22, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Tire Repair Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    http://www.tv-zazenhausen.de/verein/_redirect.php?url=www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 22, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Devona Eyer

    How do I convert my website from dreamweaver to wordpress?

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmkowalsky/

    June 23, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. not another dnd podcast

    http://shows.foxpro.com.tw/redirect.php?action=url&goto=backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. all my relations podcast

    I couldnít resist commenting. Well written!

    http://yodaweb.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Digital Marketing Service

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.

    http://div2000.com/specialfunctions/newsitereferences.asp?nwsiteurl=consciousgrowthmarketing.com

    June 23, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. undisputed podcast

    Great blog you have got here.. Itís hard to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://dcgreeks.com/ad_redirect.asp?url=https://backbonehunters.com

    June 23, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Tire Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get anything done.

    http://jdd-law.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 23, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV And Truck Repair Near Me

    Good post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    http://www.endofmoney.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 23, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Furnace Repair Near Me

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Appreciate it!

    http://www.chuli.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    June 23, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to Juan Friess


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.